Early Warning Signs Emerge For GOP After U.S. Capitol Riots

Jan 12, 2021
Patrick Semansky / AP

In the 36 hours after last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, 112 Republicans reached out to the election office in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to change their party registration. Ethan Demme was one of them.

Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate

On today's program: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court strikes down a proposed constitutional amendment that would build victim’s rights into the state constitution; and Julie DeSeyn, United Way Chief Programming and Policy Officer, discusses how the local chapter is helping Pittsburghers through the pandemic. 

Pennsylvania Department of Health

The state health department has created a map that lists COVID-19 vaccine providers across Pennsylvania. Providers who currently offer vaccines and those that eventually will as the state’s roll out enters its later stages are included.

Seth Wenig / AP

A state policy change will leave thousands of children with autism without the regular therapy that helps them learn crucial skills.

New PA GOP Leader Pushes Transparency Reforms Despite Party's Past Reluctance, Obstruction

Jan 11, 2021
Christine Baker / The Patriot-News

In his first speech as top leader of the Pennsylvania Senate last week, Republican Sen. Jake Corman positioned himself as a reformer seeking to restore faith in government by greatly increasing transparency in the legislature and by elected lawmakers.

State Gives $34 Million For Water Cleanup

Jan 11, 2021
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

The state is giving more than $34 million to scores of water cleanup projects across the commonwealth.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania officials announced 5,338 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and 7,506 from the previous day. The total number of infections since the start of the pandmeic is now 726,154.

Police Move To Increase Security At Pennsylvania Capitol

Jan 11, 2021
Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

Police who guard the Pennsylvania Capitol are working to be more visible and have been coordinating plans with other agencies to secure the building since a violent mob stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol last week, a Department of General Services spokesperson said Monday.


The latest coronavirus relief bill included $7 billion to expand broadband internet access, and Pennsylvania is expected to get $850 million of the money, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Supreme Court is declining to get involved in a case about free speech outside a Pittsburgh abortion clinic.

The high court turned away the case Monday. The court's decision not to hear the case leaves in place a 2019 appeals court decision that upheld a Pittsburgh ordinance creating a 15-foot “buffer zone” where protests are barred around entrances to health care facilities. The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed “sidewalk counseling” within that zone.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

On today's program: An infectious disease physician says the arrival of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 should be motivating the vaccination rollout; The Pittsburgh Penguins received nearly $5 million as a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program; and the 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show has gone virtual this year.

More contagious COVID-19 variant has reached Pennsylvania
(0:00 - 5:57) 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Jadyn Gibson’s African-American literature class spent last Thursday discussing the foreshadowing and tension they had felt building during President Donald Trump’s administration.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Department of Agriculture is inviting viewers down a “rabbit hole of Pennsylvania agriculture” during its first ever virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Courtesy of the Mendelssohn Choir

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that indoor choral singing was among the riskiest behaviors one could engage in. So the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, like so many group artistic endeavors, hasn’t had any in-person activities for some 10 months.

Boston Red Sox / Twitter

Pittsburgh-area native Bianca Smith says it’s still “surreal” that she’s about to become the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball. The Boston Red Sox recently announced that they’d hired the 29-year-old as a Minor League coach. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaches, discussions of further violence continue to percolate on mainstream sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as platforms such as Parler. Pittsburgh officials are preparing for possible actions in the city next weekend, in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.


Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to "resign and go away as soon as possible." 

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Pennsylvania on Friday released an updated coronavirus vaccine plan that makes more people eligible for shots in the initial phases of the rollout. Health care workers and nursing home residents remain at the front of the line, followed by people 75 years and older and "essential workers" like police officers, grocery store clerks and teachers.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

Both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Tuesday side-stepped proposed rules changes that would have diminished the power of majority-party leaders to control the legislative agenda.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Charges against two dozen protesters from last summer's demonstrations against police brutality are being refiled, but Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala disagree about the circumstances for that move.


Many Pennsylvania dentists, pharmacists, midwives, translators and others who work directly with patients in health care settings are still waiting to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine signed an order directing hospitals to designate 10% of their COVID-19 vaccine shipment for non-hospital workers.

Fetterman Taking Steps Toward Running For U.S. Senate In 2022

Jan 8, 2021
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, is taking a definitive step toward running for the state's open U.S. Senate seat in 2022.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Hours after pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest what they falsely believed was a stolen election, members of Congress resumed certifying the Electoral College vote for President.

Sarah Kovash/90.5 WESA

Former Pittsburgh Police chief and state representative Dom Costa is running for Allegheny County sheriff.

“Our county and our country are in the midst of unrest and turmoil right now, and I believe that my life has prepared me to lead during these uncertain times,” Costa said in a statement.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

On this week's Explainer:

Far-right extremists who support President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. It was an effort to disrupt the congressional process of certifying Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President-elect and Vice President-elect.

Matt Rourke / AP

A number of the commonwealth’s state and federal prosecutors are planning to press charges against anyone from Pennsylvania found to have been involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that temporarily disrupted the certification of the nation’s Electoral College votes.

GOP State Senator At Capitol During Attack Urged To Resign

Jan 7, 2021
Julio Cortez / AP

A Republican state senator who was on the scene when a violent mob of fellow Donald Trump supporters commandeered the U.S. Capitol should resign, the top Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate said Thursday.

PA Pushes Schools To Reopen

Jan 7, 2021
Office of Gov. Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania nudged school districts to reopen elementary schools Thursday by changing its official guidance.

Lisa Middle campaign

Lisa Middleman, who ran an unsuccessful 2019 campaign for Allegheny County District Attorney that nevertheless rallied criminal-justice reformers to her cause, now hopes to hear cases rather than argue them. She intends to run in what will likely be a wide-open contest for one of the open seats on Allegheny County’s Court of Common Pleas this year.  

Split Court Tosses Pennsylvania Victims' Rights Amendment

Jan 7, 2021
Matt Rourke / AP

A victims’ rights constitutional amendment that Pennsylvania voters apparently passed by a wide margin was thrown out Thursday by a divided state court that ruled it bundled too many changes together.